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New Y&R Study Explores The Hidden Side of Brands

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Editor’s Note: Reprinted with permission by Y&R. Enjoy!

Are some iconic brands actually less popular than we think?

According to a new study from Y&R, the answer may well be yes. The study measured traditional brand ratings using a survey — but it added a twist by also measuring emotional response on an unconscious level using a technique called Implicit Association. Featured in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, this technique has been used in academia to uncovered hidden biases like racism.

The major finding: In the USA, brands like Google and Apple– while popular on a stated basis – are less well liked unconsciously. Other brands like Exxon, The National Inquirer and Facebook are actually liked more than consumers readily admit.

brands

“What people tell us and what they really feel are often two very different things,” says David Sable, Y&R global CEO. “Marketers have known that instinctively — and it explains why some campaigns that seemed so on the mark felt flat in the marketplace. Our research gives us the ability to dig deeper and get a fuller, truer picture”

“This research has raised some fundamental question in my mind,” says Chip Walker, the Y&R executive vice president who directed the study. “Is there a ‘hidden’ side of brand equity that’s completely unexplored? And can understanding this new side help us unlock a brand’s hidden potential or vulnerability? That’s where we’d like to take this research and thinking next.”

METHODOLOGY

•The research was conducted in Spring 2013 online among 900 respondents in the US, Brazil and China, with representative samples in the USA and A, B, and C social classes in China and Brazil.

•It used direct questioning to measure respondents’ conscious values, attitudes and brand ratings.

•It also employed implicit tests in order to measure consumers’ unconscious values and emotional reactions to brands. Implicit methods uncover unconscious reactions indirectly, usually through reaction time. Tests like these have been used extensively and reliably in academia in the study of prejudice, psychopathology and attitudes among other topics, and were featured in Malcom Gladwell’s book Blink.

•Y&R partnered with noted psychologist Dr. Joel Weinberger of Adelphi University, an expert in unconscious motivation, to design and analyze the results of this study.

“Secrets and Lies” pptx can be accessed at https://share.yr.com/h-s/20130919/3b10d96b10f94e85 or via the slideshare embed below.

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